Soccer Special team look back at Friday's World Cup qualifiers

A Greg Dyke-inspired England and woe for the Republic. Our pundits reflect on Friday's internationals...

Last Updated: 11/09/13 9:51am

Paul Robinson on England's thrashing of Moldova

England 4-0 Moldova: Read our match report

"I think some of the older players might have been inspired by Greg Dyke's speech; he said he wanted England to win the 2022 World Cup and lots of these players will be too old by then so I think they realised this might be their best chance to do something. It was a fantastic performance from England right from the world go; Jack Wilshere, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard were outstanding as a central three in midfield, Rickie Lambert led the line well, too, and if this was a boxing match it would have been stopped because it was so easy. However, Ukraine on Tuesday will be much tougher and without the suspended Danny Welbeck we are short of strikers."

Pat Bonner on Republic of Ireland's home loss to Sweden

Republic of Ireland 1-2 Sweden: Read our match report

"If you have ambitions to qualify for World Cups, you have got to win your home games and Ireland have thrown it away against Austria last time out and now against Sweden. We worked really hard but we couldn't come up with anything; Ireland kept playing the same ball from back to front and I felt they should have had the leadership there to change the tactics and pass a bit more, but they didn't and allowed Sweden, who aren't a great side, to dominate. It is frustrating because I felt this young Irish team were going places, so I think they will have a new manager soon as I don't see them offering Giovanni Trapattoni a new deal."

Iain Dowie on a dramatic night at Windsor Park

Northern Ireland 2-4 Portugal: Read our match report

"Northern Ireland were dogged and unsettled the opposition and the response to going a goal down was great, as we exploited Portugal's zonal marking and Gareth McAuley scored a good header. We then had the added bonuses of Helder Postiga getting sent off, the rain lashing down and another goal, which Jamie Ward scored albeit from an offside position. We looked so comfortable after that but then had a moment of madness with Chris Brunt's sending off and when he was gone the game changed. It was the Cristiano Ronaldo show after that and how do you cope with him?"